A Lifetime of Hope

Monday, July 27, 2020 - By: LJ Lavallee, Hope ‘20

 The following was delivered at the Lifers’ Dinner in late May, 2020.

When I came to Hope House in Grade 9, the only person I knew was Janey, and we traded in our little cubbies in the Grade 8 classroom for an actual day student room which we rarely left.

The first day of Orientation was insane. I was assigned to Desola and Piper’s room, and across the hall Hayley and Khalilah attempted to get to know each other as newfound roommates. On the other side of the house, Didi and Kerry got acquainted with their respective roommates. I’m pretty sure the first day of Orientation was the only time I have ever seen Desola being relatively quiet.

As the years go by, people come and go. Our small group of grade 9s grew and grew, and we found ourselves running to sign in and going on last-minute Thrifty's runs with different people.

But no matter how many years go past, we know we can always count on the people who have been there since day one.

  • If you ever need someone to burst out laughing for absolutely no reason and somehow make everyone else in the room laugh too, there is Kerry.
  • If you need some wisdom or inspiration or just a calming person to talk to, there is Didi.
  • If you need someone to passionately argue with you about how your way of playing Stella Stella Ola is completely wrong, you have Desola.
  • If you ever need someone to sing random song lyrics at the top of their lungs or cry with you for no reason at all, you have Janey.
  • If you need someone to be a logical voice of reason and put up with you no matter how much you rant about such miniscule things, you have Hayley.
  • If you ever need someone to help you memorize science flashcards while simultaneously playing games on a Nintendo DS, there is Khalilah.
  • And if you ever need someone to make you feel taller than you actually are, you have me.


While our ragtag group of Hope Lifers may have our differences, we became a family - a small somewhat dysfunctional one, but nonetheless a family.

On behalf of all the Hope Lifers, I would like to thank everyone who has shaped our time at Brentwood. All of our teachers, coaches, advisors and house staff through the years have helped to shape who we are today. I would also like to extend a thank you to Ms Hedquist and Mr DeSandoli who stuck through the most awkward years of our lives with us and became our second parents. I don’t know how you manage to remain somewhat sane after having to deal with us for the past four years, but thank you for everything you have done.

And finally thank you to the Hope Lifers: Didi, Desola, Kerry, Hayley, Khalilah and Janey. I can’t imagine going through the craziness that is Brentwood with anyone else.

LJ Lavallee, Hope ‘20

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